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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 April 2020

Bus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

Go Ahead South Coast

Go Ahead South Coast   (Click to enlarge)

A South Coast bus driver

While the government gives reassurances to the public that 'we are all in this together' and they will do 'whatever it takes', bosses are doing whatever it takes to protect their profits.

Go Ahead South Coast bus company run a network of National Express coaches. Workers were met by managers as they turned up for work on Thursday 19 March.

The drivers were told they were being laid off without pay from the following Tuesday. Drivers were in tears in the mess room, shocked and worried about how they were going to manage. They were expected to run coach services immediately after these meetings.

An all-day battle broke out between members of the RMT union and managers, resulting in a tea-time retreat. The company director said there had been 'a misunderstanding'.

But by Monday the company resorted to taking drivers out on re-tests, failing them on spurious grounds as a new way to get rid of them.

The company has acted appallingly, making agreements with the union, and within hours reneging on them. The company has sent communications out of line with government advice, and communications claiming they had been agreed by the union, when they hadn't.

The company announced that as routes are cut, drivers would be put on their contractual hours. For many who do regular overtime, this is a 20% wage cut.

But the union has overturned the company. It now accepts government advice - pay should be calculated on average hours actually worked.

Some drivers have been pushed to sign a company furlough agreement. They want to only pay us 80% of our wages.

It is the view of drivers in the union - and the Socialist Party - that no one should lose a penny for the impact of coronavirus. The fight for 100% of pay continues.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 1 April 2020:


Coronavirus news

NHS workers speak out: austerity has left us unprepared

Schools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

Councils must use resources now for emergency response

NHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

Self-isolation class divide: decent homes for all!

Fully fund hospices to care for vulnerable children

Scandalous conditions in food distribution centre

Coronavirus news in brief


World War Two

All in this together? The 'Blitz spirit' myth


What we think

PPE, tests, full pay - for all now

Labour must resist 'Covid coalition': Workers need their own voice and party

Emergency legislation: Trade unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests


Food supply and the coronavirus crisis

Capitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative


Workplace news

Key workers should make bold demands

Essential workers deserve more

Working in Mike Ashley's empire: After lockdown we won't forget how we've been treated

Hull construction workers force bosses to shut down site over health and safety fears

Bosses concede to walkouts in Northern Ireland

Bus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

Postal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

Working from home during the pandemic

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

Refuse collection workers strike


Benefits

Fight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

More than ever, we need accountable union leaders


Campaigns

Help us continue to fight for workers and socialism

Building the Socialist Party


Readers' opinion

Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis


 

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